Dayton neighborhood investments near hospitals top $500M

Millions in investments by and near two of Dayton’s anchor hospitals are giving local neighborhoods and some heavily traveled corridors inviting new looks and amenities.

The Phoenix Project, focused on the area around Good Samaritan Hospital, has helped support and leverage $123 million in investment since 2004, according to CityWide Development Corp.

Investment in two neighborhoods near Dayton Children's Hospital will exceed $460 million by 2020, CityWide said, owing to some large infrastructure, expansion and improvement projects.

The city of Dayton and CityWide want to replicate the success of the economic development strategy they followed to help transform Brown Street and the adjacent neighborhood.

“We view the (DaVinci project) as an investment in our community, reaching beyond our walls to make Dayton the safest place for kids to live, learn and grow,” said Stacy Porter, spokeswoman with Dayton Children’s.

The Phoenix Project seeks to improve the greater Fairview neighborhood around Good Sam.

The DaVinci Project targets the Old North Dayton and McCook Field neighborhoods by Dayton Children’s.

The projects are public-private partnerships that include stakeholders in those neighborhoods, such as Dayton Public Schools, Dayton Metro Library, the Salvation Army and the Greater Old North Dayton Business Association. Major partners include the city of Dayton, CityWide and the hospitals.

The projects use an “asset-based economic development strategy,” meaning investments are focused around large community anchors.

This is the same strategy underlying the redevelopment the fairgrounds neighborhood and that helped convert Brown Street into a thriving business corridor.

Since 2004, improvements around Good Sam included Miller-Valentine Group building 33 low-income, single-family homes, the city opening a spray park, pool and playground and the Dayton Metro Library constructing a $11.5 million Northwest Branch Library, according to CityWide.

Phoenix leadership’s “strong involvement with neighborhood and business groups in the surrounding area helped ensure strong community input into the design and inspired features found in the new branch,” said Tim Kambitsch, Dayton Metro Library executive director.

Good Sam has spent $61 million on campus improvements and opened a $4 million medical office facility at 2222 Philadelphia Drive that is the new home of the Five Rivers Health Center.

The hospital also spent nearly $10 million on other neighborhood improvements, and the city of Dayton also invested nearly $12 million, CityWide said.

Some funding went to acquiring and removing blighted structures along the Salem Avenue corridor, which is traveled by about 27,000 motorists each day.

More than 75 blighted properties were acquired to support new development, including the the Lower Commons fitness park and the Fairview Commons park.

The Phoenix Project created a northwestern gateway at the intersection of Salem Avenue and Catalpa Drive through a combination of demolition, landscaping and the installation of benches, public art, green space, paths and other site improvements, said Nicole Steele, project manager with CityWide.

The project has supported “ownership and pride in the neighborhood, activities for kids and families, new homes, new home ownership, reduced crime, beautification of the area,” said Renee Roberts, hospital spokeswoman.

Also, the Cincinnati-based Model Group, working with Episcopal Retirement Services, wants to build a 54-unit senior housing facility at the vacant Miracle Lane Shopping Center at Salem and Hillcrest Avenues.

“If we are successful, we plan to do two phases on this block,” Steele said.

The Valley Street corridor, which handles about 26,000 vehicles each day, also is perking up and its character is changing.

The DaVinci Project helped demolish five properties at the intersection of Keowee and Valley streets to make way for a park expansion and road realignment.

The city of Dayton has obtained a $1.5 million federal grant to re-route the roadway in 2020, officials said.

Unlike the Phoenix and Genesis projects, DaVinci did not have a pool of upfront funds from partners, but it has focused on maximizing investments that occur in the Old North Dayton and McCook Field neighborhoods.

Keowee Street was going to be rebuilt anyway, but DaVinci partners worked with the city to come up with upgrades that make the thoroughfare easier to navigate and more attractive, said Katie Lunne, community development specialist with CityWide.

Improvements included wider sidewalks, new tree lawns, relocation of utility poles, decorative light fixtures, and the plan is to add banners, Lunne said.

“All of those things just kind of pretty up and make a nice entrance into that side of Old North Dayton and McCook Field,” she said.

About $40.6 million in additional infrastructure projects are planned for the neighborhoods through 2020. Upgrades are planned for Troy Street and North Valley Street, and gateway-type elements will be constructed at Stanley and Valley streets, including signage and landscaping.

The DaVinci Project also has raised about three-fourths of the funding to pay for about $335,000 in wayfinding enhancements.

The neighborhood can be challenging to navigate because it is not a typical grid, and the plan is to install colorful new signage and banners to identify some major destinations (Dayton Children’s, Kettering Field and the Salvation Army’s Dayton Kroc Center) and help people get to where they are going, Lunne said.

Dayton Children's is finishing a $140 million, eight-story patient care tower, which will open in June and will create jobs.

After downtown, Old North Dayton and McCook Field have the second largest concentration of jobs in the city (more than 10,000 jobs). Dayton Children’s employs about 2,000 workers.

In the shadow of the hospital sits an outdoor play park, called Children’s Garden along Valley Street, which opened last summer.

The roughly $800,000 play park will serve the hospital and local neighborhood.

“The ultimate goal is to encourage people and business to thrive here,” said Porter, with Dayton Children’s. “That means being a good neighbor ourselves, and helping make this a cohesive community – proud of its heritage and history and excited about its future.”


The Dayton Daily News watches out for how your tax dollars are invested, including public-private developments to help improve the regions.

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